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'Begging Them To Please Help Me,' Who is Keeshae Jacobs And Why Was Her Disappearance Ignored?

Toni Jacobs has pointed out that the FBI had no problem rushing to assist in the Gabby Petito case while ignoring her for years in her quest to find her missing 21-year-old daugther.

By Gina Tron
‘You Don’t See Them On The News: ’Sisters-In-Law Continue Their Mission To Help Find Missing Black People

The disappearance of a young Virginia woman named Keeshae Jacobs is the first missing persons case mentioned in a new docuseries dedicated to shining a light on Black missing persons cases who have not received the attention they deserve.

Jacobs’ story is introduced in the first episode of “Black and Missing,” a four-part docuseries which begins streaming today. “Black and Missing” focuses on the consistent devaluation of Black victims and missing persons. As the series points out, most people can’t even name three missing Black people. Instead, such cases get buried under piles of missing person cases of white women like Gabby Petito. The show follows the Black and Missing Foundation founders Derrica and Natalie Wilson, who are also sisters-in-law, as they combat how missing Black people are treated in the media and by law enforcement. 

Jacobs is one such example.

Keeshae Jacobs Namus

She was last heard from in 2016 in Richmond when she told her mom Toni Jacobs via text that she arrived at a friend’s house. Keeshae also communicated that she'd see her the following day, WTVR reported in September. But when her then-21-year-old daughter didn’t show up as promised, Toni began contacting her friends. Eventually, they explained that they'd dropped Keeshae off at a man’s home. It remains the spot where she was last seen.

The concerned mother tells the producers of “Black and Missing” that she immediately approached the home and the man inside. She said that the man’s time frame and story regarding her daughter just didn't add up. She said she approached the police about this fact but noted that they didn’t seem that interested. In fact, they tried to dismiss Keeshae as a runaway.

“I had to show them my phone,” she reflected. "This is a little girl who talks to me every day, all day.”

While foul play is suspected, no suspects or persons of interest have been named. Toni is frustrated that police didn't take the case seriously from the get-go and wonders if they botched the investigation as a result.

“I called the F.B.I and I was pleading and begging them to please help me,” the mother told WRIC. “So have I talked to anybody? No.”

She expressed annoyance that the FBI was willing to assist in finding Petito, who was found murdered after a very high profile vanishing earlier this year, but not her own beloved daughter.

“What made the F.B.I. more eager to help her than to help Keeshae?” she asked WRIC.

Toni reached out to the Black and Missing Foundation for help when she felt ignored by investigators and her community; they in turn helped  provide her with some funding to keep awareness on the case.

Toni continues to fight to find out what happened to her daughter, who she loved watching scary movies with, among other activities.

"She used to hug all the time," Toni told WTVR earlier this year. "For no reason, she'd say 'Mom, I need a hug.' And I'd be like, 'Keeshae, I just gave you a hug five minutes ago."

Natalie points out in “Black and Missing” that about 40 percent of missing persons cases are people of color and the majority of them are Black. Their cases take four times as long to be solved as their white counterparts. 

“We hear from families all the time, ‘the police is turning us away, the media wouldn’t respond, the community isn’t responding,” Natalie explains in the the docuseries.

They want society to care more about people like Keeshae, whose vanishing remains unsolved.

“I’m still praying,” Toni told WRIC. “Everyday I pray, every night I pray.”

Keeshae was last seen wearing black basketball shorts, pink and black Nike basketball shoes, and a pink scarf. She has tattoos on her right foot, right leg and right hand of a leaf, paws and a flower.